Temples and Tibet

Nicholas Quirke was full of wonder and excitement by the visual extravagance of his day on 5 October 2020. He was beginning a four day road trip which would take him from Xining round the vast Qinghai Lake through mountains and back. He woke at five am and managed to finally post one of his blogs. They picked up the rental car from an underground car park at Xining’s huge ultra modern station station and went back to the hotel to check out and begin the 300 km journey to their first destination of Heimahe on the shores of of the great Qinghai  (Green sea) Lake. The first stop on their journey was to the vast Ta’er Temple ,also known as Kombum monastery . A Tibetan ‘gompa’’ ,founded in 1583 in a narrow valley close to the village of Lusar. It is ranked in importance as second only to Lhasa. The first think he noticed was the number of people there. It was packed with tourists, pilgrims, monks and worshipers. It was busy, they queued to to get into various shrines. In the hall of longevity he was Pushed and shoved out of the way by people determined not to wait in line like everyone else and felt a little angry that thethey were herded round the Beautiful Amarantha Hall which supposedly seats 2500 monks which he found difficult to believe. and visited almost all of the individual halls, schools and shrines. As always, the colour of the buildings and their interiors were no truly stunning and the Tibetan influence was very obvious,  vivid and bright. They still had over 200 km to travel through mountain scenery which was a breathtaking journey even though he felt the temperature drop dramatically. They were stopping at The Princess Wencheng temple on the Sun and Moon mount and just before they arrived Nicholas spotted a Yak. He couldn’t remember ever having seen one in the flesh before, even at a zoo and counted this as a first. The temple was located on the ancient Tang dynasty – Tibet southern Silk Road route on the Riyue mountainside on the Tibetan Plateau and at the moment, as it was forbidden for foreigners, it was the closest he was going to get to be in Tibet. The climbed to its peak and enjoyed the view of the magnificent surrounding mountains. They had one more stop planned before arriving at their hotel on the Qinghai lake shore at another temple on Daotang Riverside. Here they were given the opportunity to dress in traditional costume as they explored the various shrines around the complex. Having never seen a Yak, he was surprised to find himself sitting on one for a photograph. The drive to the hotel opened up from mountain scenery to a drive along the shore. There was a lot of traffic on the road and progress was slow and by the time they got to Heimahe and the Hotel it was dark. The motel was very basic and as its was on the main road, very noisy. They tested the Oxygen Peng had bought for the High Altitudes and ate another of the Self heating meals. The internet connection was dire which meant another day of no post to WordPress. It was noisy outside but he let the sounds wash over him and he drifted into a satisfying sleep.


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